Title

Mobile Money and Financial Inclusion for the Unbanked – A Choice Analysis

Abstract

This study explored the impact of mobile money on financial inclusion and development from Kleine’s Choice perspective in the lives of entrepreneurs of a least developed country (LDC). A thematic analysis of data gathered from in-depth semi-structured interviews of twenty-three micro and small enterprise entrepreneurs based in Lesotho’s capital city Maseru suggested a variety of primary outcomes that result when the entrepreneurs exercise their choice to use mobile money technology. These include achieving a higher quality of life through increased revenue and profits due to the transactional convenience, financial management capabilities and improved access to banking services (financial inclusion) provided by the mobile money technology. For the entrepreneurs to achieve these primary outcomes, a choice must exist and be accompanied by an awareness of the available choices that can be made. Furthermore, the entrepreneurs must possess the agency to make a choice and actively make a choice before an outcome can be achieved. Mobile money is not without limitations such as withdrawal limits, network failures and safety issues which limit the entrepreneurs’ agency to exercise choice. This study proposes a practical model based on Kleine’s Choice Framework for assessing development that is based on a rich and contextualised understanding of choice, agency and structure.

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